Data is the most essential element for any organization. With a variety of options available today to store data on cloud, every organization needs to analyze which storage system to go for, since each has its own merits and demerits and is designed to cater to specific functions.
Old storage technologies like File Storage are suitable when the server is shared among a few users and where machines and performance are not a priority. However, since the technology is unscalable and unable to support concurrent user operations, it causes problems due to its single write operation limitation.
Organizations are more inclined towards opting for storage that is fast, scalable, flexible and reliable and also allows unlimited write operations.
To store data easily on cloud, companies nowadays have started using object storage and block storage.
These storage methods are more scalable and flexible as compared to the older storage methods and are developed using modern software and tools.
With the use of cloud storage, enterprises can simply rely on the provider to store, back up their data, save a lot of space and eliminate the need to maintain and organize expensive storage devices.
Let’s take a deep dive into the use cases of using block storage and how it is beneficial for organizations.
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What You Should Know About Various Storage Methods
There are many ways to store data on a cloud server. While some storage methods can store any form of data, some of them can only focus on storing one specific type of file like image or audio files exclusively.
The size of these storage methods also varies; while some of them are integrated into the server , others occupy an entire warehouse.
The three commonly used cloud storage options are:
- File storage: It is the method of storing data in an ordered hierarchy in the format of file and folders, wherein files are placed inside folders and these folders are further placed in database, which keeps the hierarchy going. This hierarchy can be shared and accessed between multiple servers and networks. Each file also has its own path through which it can be located easily and multiple users who have access to the server can access these files anytime.
- Object storage: It is the architecture that stores large unstructured data. Each piece of data is treated as an object, and they are stored in their individual warehouses. Each object also comes with its metadata and is unique for easy access. Due to the low price of object storage, it can be scaled massively which makes it ideal for large data storage.
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- Block Storage: It is mainly used in cloud computing where the data to be stored is massive and also shared between many users as well as devices. It breaks down the data into small bits called blocks and each of them is uniquely identified. Each block can be configured to work with different operating systems. The data is stored on Storage Area Networks (SAN), which creates a shared pool of storage space and can be connected to any server in an instant, resembling a shared external storage device setup. Compared to other local storage, block storage is more efficient and reliable at transferring data.
Why Does Your Organization Need Block Storage?
Block storage is relatively the most expensive storage option for cloud servers and yet many companies reserve a fraction of their storage for block storage as it is the fastest cloud storage option available.
Here are a few reasons why enterprises opt for block storage:
- Performance: With block storage, data transfer is faster, offers low latency and is extremely good with applications that require high input/output operations per second such as operating systems.
- Multiple OS compatibility: With block storage, data can be stored and accessed through any operating system, which allows the user to choose and switch between any operating system with ease and boot any operating system.
- Scalability and Flexibility: More block storage volumes can be added to the existing storage in case your enterprise needs to increase cloud storage without affecting the performance. Block storage can also be shared between different servers just by changing the destination address as many organizations establish themselves in various locations and in each location, may maintain multiple servers, each for its own purpose.
Where Should Organizations Use Block Storage?
Out of the three storage options, Block storage is the fastest type of storage as data is divided into blocks and each block can perform read and write operation simultaneously. Since each block stores a small amount of data, the read and write operations happen at great speed.
It is best suited for tasks that require blazing fast storage that lets you access and move files with great speed.
Here are some use-cases where Block storage really shines:
- Unified data access: Block storage is extremely flexible and so it can be removed from its server just as easily as it is added. With this feature, you can assume it is like that of an external storage device and the data can be accessed in any cloud that has this storage device.
- Backup: Due to block storage’s scalability, it is used as a backup drive which can be accessed on a different server if the primary server fails.
- Temporary storage: During software development and machine learning, a lot of temporary data is created for cache, builds, test runs and buffers. For all this short-lived data, one can go for block storage and simply delete it once the requirement of the temporary data is over.
- Streaming services: With any streaming service provider, their library keeps on expanding and buying more storage initially becomes more expensive. With block storage’s scaling feature, companies can easily expand their storage without compromising the security and durability of the existing data.
- Containers: Due to the flexibility offered by block storage, containers are usually stored in it. Operating systems are abstracted from the physical hardware using containers and with block storage we can quickly define and launch them. Since containers are packages of software, they can be easily stored in blocks and can be accessed easily with great speed and can be shared among different servers.
Fast Storage at Affordable Price. Is It Possible?
Block storage can be purchased either through cloud providers who offer different storage choices, or you can also purchase it through exclusive storage providers who offer storage at cheaper prices.
The prices start from $0.05 per GB per month from an exclusive storage provider to $0.2 per GB per month from a cloud provider. With this you can choose the exact amount of storage you need and pay only for that.
For example, Azure offers block storage with fixed storage options unlike other organizations and the pricing starts from $0.6 for 4GiB. The storage doubles with each upgrade. AWS offers their block storage at $0.12/GB per month. Alibaba cloud offers their block storage at a price of $0.19/GB per month.
However, Ace offers block storage at one of the cheapest prices in the industry, that is at $0.1/GB per month and the performance is at par with the competition.
Ace uses open source Ceph storage that has high performance with vast scalability of kernel modules. Ceph storage can maintain high performance with low latency and zero downtime. It can also run on any hardware giving you full control over your server setup.
For any inquiries, get in touch with our product experts to get started with the best in-class storage option.
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